Ever wonder which foods have the biggest impact on you and your child’s teeth each day? Here are some of the foods that if allowed to sit on teeth for hours at a time can contribute to tooth decay.
Of course, your kiddos can and will still enjoy many of these foods! Just take care to limit the amount of time the food is left on their teeth, and make sure they brush or, at least, rinse their teeth with water soon after consumption.
1. Cereal for Breakfast
Cereal has more sugar than you would think – an average of 11 grams per serving. While breakfast is a great start to the day, it may not be as good a start for your teeth. This is another reason for children to brush their teeth after eating in the morning as well as at night.
2. Fruit Snacks
Gummy foods stick to teeth and between teeth making it hard to remove with rinsing alone. Be sure to brush your kids’ teeth soon after eating these snacks as anything with added sugar means added trouble.
3. Sugary Drinks
Sodas contain a lot of sugar, as do most juices. However, Gatorade and other sports drinks are actually worse in terms of sugar and impact on your teeth. If your child can’t brush their teeth after consuming these drinks, then at least rinse, rinse, rinse!
For the little ones, dilute all juices with water and don’t serve in a sippy cup as it can leave liquid pooling in their mouths.
4. Caramel, Lollipops, Hard Candy
The longer the candy lasts, the longer the teeth have sugar on them. Hard candies, like caramels and lollipops, tend to cling to teeth increasing the chance for tooth decay.
5. Dried Fruits
Sugars in fruit become highly concentrated once the water is dried away. Their sticky texture can cling to teeth as much as gooey candies. In fact, non-soluble cellulose fiber binds sugar to teeth worse than candy does.
Any starchy food, such as white bread, potato chips, or pasta, can lodge between teeth and in tooth crevices. It then is converted to sugar by enzymes in saliva and bacteria in the mouth.
7. High in Acid
Citric fruits, like oranges, and juices that are high in acid can erode enamel and should be eaten quickly. Drink water to rinse your mouth afterwards and avoid sucking on fruits as this brings the acids in direct contact with your teeth for a longer period of time.
The acidic vinegar used to pickle cucumbers can erode tooth enamel. Always have your children rinse and brush their teeth after eating pickles.
9. Pre-Packaged Foods
Any food that is highly processed and high in starches and sugar will be worse for your kids’ teeth, such as crackers or white bread. And because of their content, pre-made lunches for kids are often the biggest culprits.
10. Popcorn and Corn on the Cob
You know how it is: corn gets stuck in and around your teeth every time you eat it. If left for long, it can create gum inflammation or irritation.
Don’t worry! Adults and kids alike will all eat these foods, often every day. The important thing is to rinse or brush the food away as soon as possible, minimizing the time these sugars sit on your teeth.